published : 2023-09-30

Ford Warns Extended UAW Strike Could Result in Up to 500,000 Supplier Employee Layoffs

Ford supply chain chief says striking union threatening jobs of supplier employees

A photo of United Auto Workers (UAW) members rallying at the Stellantis North America headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan. [Taken with: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV]

The United Auto Workers (UAW) strike against Ford Motor Co. has entered a critical phase, with the automaker cautioning that the prolonged work stoppage could lead to a massive layoff affecting up to half a million employees in the supplier chain.

Since the UAW's initial strike two weeks ago, tensions have been mounting as the union targeted various facilities of the Big Three automakers, including Ford, General Motors (GM), and Stellantis. However, Ford had initially been spared in the second round of strikes.

Now, as the strike expands, the Chicago assembly plant of Ford, along with GM's assembly facility in Lansing, Michigan, has been forced to shut down. The situation has become increasingly precarious, not only for the automakers but also for the suppliers, causing Ford executives to express concerns.

A snapshot of Ford CEO Jim Farley attending a Red Bull Racing unveiling of the team's new Formula One car during a launch event in New York City. [Taken with: Nikon D850]

During a media briefing on Friday, Ford CEO Jim Farley stressed the urgency of resolving the strike, warning that time was running out to avert a potential disaster. He acknowledged the fragility of the supply base and the potential impact on the company's operations.

Liz Door, Ford's chief supply chain officer, provided further insight into the potential consequences of the strike. She highlighted the vulnerability of the supplier ecosystem, particularly after the challenges faced in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Door stated that approximately 2,400 supplier employees had already been laid off due to the strike. However, if the strike continues, the ripple effects could be much more significant. Ford estimates that anywhere from 325,000 to 500,000 people, including supplier employees from other Ford factories, could be affected by layoffs.

An image of a United Auto Workers (UAW) member on a picket line outside the Ford Motor Co. Michigan Assembly plant in Wayne, Michigan. [Taken with: Sony Alpha a7 III]

It is crucial to note that previous reports suggesting layoffs of Ford employees themselves were incorrect. The layoffs anticipated are solely for supplier employees.

The UAW strike has reached a critical inflection point, with the stakes high for both the union and the automakers. As negotiations continue, there is hope that a resolution can be reached to prevent further disruptions and protect the livelihoods of supplier employees.

The global automotive industry remains on edge, awaiting the outcome of these negotiations. The impacts of the UAW strike have the potential to reverberate through the entire supply chain, affecting countless individuals and companies worldwide.